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would open the doors when it suited him, talk that he regarded the merger as being and went on to deliver this astounding other than inevitable, one more demonspeech:
stration of the eternal nature of things.
It is of the philosophy of exhibitions. When I commenced the study of painting, They wax and they wane, no matter who there were no casts in the country. I was obliged to do as well as I could. These young gentlemen
There are always malshould remember that the gentlemen have gone to contents, secessionists. I have witnessed a great expense in importing casts, and that they their operations in Paris, London, and (the students) have no property in them; they Munich, in Italy and Spain. They sucmust remember that beggars are not to be choos- ceed, they wax, and then they wane in the
approved fashion. Only recently here at Poor acanthi ! Is it any wonder that home we have had further instances of they rebelled, formed a Drawing Asso- the restlessness of the artist where exhibiciation of their own, and finally, in 1825, tions are concerned. The Society of Indebrought into existence the National pendent Artists was started in 1917, and Academy of the Arts of Design, an insti- annually has shown the works of its memtution to be untroubled by the laymen bers without the intervention of a jury. who had largely bedevilled its predecessor, In 1919 we had the first of the yearly but to be governed exclusively by artists? exhibitions of the New Society of Artists, There is a world of meaning in the slogan a group of about two score men more of the new body, announced in large capi- progressive in their ideas than the Acadtal letters, A DIFFERENT COURSE WILL emy is supposed to be, though some of 'BE PURSUED. The exhibition as a halo them still exhibit there. Sometimes these surrounding the Sun of Knowledge took groups last. The Ten American Painters on increased luminosity.
held their first show in 1898, and only of
late years have seemed to be lingering 生生生
with no particular function upon the IT
shrink and grow cold, but there is no fact, the nubbin of the whole situation. question about its subsidence. In 1877 In organization, as regards exhibitions, discontent with the Academy led to the lie the fairly certain seeds of decay. foundation of the Society of American
$ Artists, and if that didn't last quite so long it at all events enjoyed a fairly pro- THE strength of a chain
, we are told I in prime. Its exhibitions literally made his link. The efficiency of a jury-and juries tory. The best years of the Academy, seem to be inevitable, the Society of Indesurely through no fault of its own, were pendents to the contrary notwithstanding hardly the best years in modern American —resides in the average mentality of its art. They represented the rather pedes- members, and this does not seem to make trian mood into which we had relapsed for the breadth of view which is essenafter Stuart and our brief eighteenth- tial to the maintenance of a high standard century harvest. The group of mas- in exhibitions. I carelessly alluded, just ters born before the Civil War, men like now, to the philosophy of the subject. I Inness and La Farge, was not large am not really so sure that there is any enough to leaven the lump, nor were we, such thing, unless it lies in the rather obas a school, as yet aware of the newer vious principle that the good exhibition is European influences. The Society of only to be expected when you have a good American Artists came in with these, and crop of artists. That was the principle on its exhibitions worked a positive renova- which the Society of American Artists tion. Then, little by little, they began to subsisted. It is for this reason that I slip and, after twenty-nine years, in 1906, cannot sympathize with the conventional the Society went back into the fold, unit- judgment on the latter-day proceedings of ing with the Academy. I sat beside La the Academy of Design. It is generally Farge at the dinner that marked the oc- assumed in this judgment that the Acadcasion, and I could not gather from his emy had definitely adopted a reactionary policy, directed with a kind of crusading conclusion that its deficiencies were to be zeal at the mortification of youth and the explained simply on the hypothesis that, repudiation of all new ideas. The effort as I have already hinted, there aren't to maintain something of a decent stand- enough good artists to go round. Espe
ard and the refusal to coddle every "inde- cially when you begin to reckon with the pendent” dauber are interpreted as insen- one-man show. sate opposition to progress. What moon- It is the one-man show, I think, that shine this is ! This winter's Academy had has done more than anything else to pull in it a respectable number of good pic- the large miscellaneous exhibition down tures, some of them sent in by men identi- from the level on which, haply, it may fied with nominally superior organiza- have started. This isn't altogether an tions. When I walked through it with an opinion either. It is mo a statement of open mind I could not but come to the fact. Twenty-five or thirty years ago the one-man show happened now and then, half the unwritten tales are true, this is the but you saw everybody that counted at last thing they ever think of. Is there any the Academy or at the Society of Ameri- solidarity among artists? I don't know, can Artists. More and more these men for I haven't a statistic in me, but I doubt went off on their own. I used to annoy it. If it figures anywhere it is among the artists I knew by asking them why they little groups, and even about these, strange weren't loyal to their organization, send- rumors of domestic infelicity sometimes ing their best pictures to its walls, and get afloat, and I think the detached obI've seen some of them wriggle. They server may be forgiven if sometimes he couldn't say just why, and yet I don't see stands, watch in hand, with an eye on a why I shouldn't say it for them. In the given group, wondering with a chuckle one-man show, the artist comes right out how long its harmony is going to endure. on the top of the world for all men to see. One cheering fact emerges in this world He has a well-lighted, well-appointed of exhibitions. What with the organizaroom to himself, he is under the auspices tions and the dealers who give the oneof a dealer who will move heaven and man shows, the American artist gets his earth to sell his pictures, and if he is a chance full measure and running overgood artist he will, by this process, raise despite the sad plight of the unknown up a public for himself in a tithe of the whose quandary I mentioned at the outtime usual under the usual conditions. set. It had seemed from the bewildering The one-man show gives him, in short, number of exhibitions in New York that an uncommonly good chance to earn a nothing more was needed, yet Mr. Walter reasonable living. Who can blame him, Clark went to work and formed the Nathen, if he sacrifices the organization to tional Association of Painters and Sculphis own interests? As a mere matter of tors, in which the subscriptions of the lay economic self-preservation it is hard to members and the works contributed by see why he should do anything else. Yet the artist members carry a great set of there is a distinction to be drawn. The galleries in the Grand Central Station one-man show ought not to drain the and add one more to the innumerable Academy to the extent that it does. agencies for the sale of American works Since some men find it possible to exhibit of art. As I write there opens in the in more than one place, why shouldn't Sculptor's Gallery in East Fortieth Street, more of them do so? I may cite at ran- formerly the studio of the late Charles dom a single good example, that offered Cary Rumsey, an exhibition which Mrs. by the distinguished landscape-painter, Rumsey has assembled with the aid of a Mr. Charles H. Davis. He is addicted to committee of artists. It presents the the one-man show, but he sent to the works of studio assistants of promise, Winter Academy one of his best pictures. beginners who have no other way of apMen win admission to the Academy, get proaching the public. Mrs. Harry Payne the initials A. N. A. or N. A. to add to Whitney has for several years shown the their names, and then, in more or less same generosity in placing exhibition short order, quit. To use the English facilities at the service of the tyro as well phrase, it isn't cricket.
as of the man of experience. I don't supBesides this question of a sportsman- pose that anywhere in the world the artlike attitude to the Academy there is the ist, regardless of his talent or of his lack question of the artist's involvement in of it, may be so sure of a public audience, the duty of that institution to the public. so to say, as in New York. We talk of I wonder sometimes how much the artist the miles of canvas in the Paris Salon. thinks of the large, patient, long-enduring · New York, in the course of a season, public. People are asked to “support beats the French mileage by several paraart, to give it countenance, to examine, sangs. The circumstance has its sorry and to buy. One would think that, with aspects. New York sees in the course of this idea current, artists would make every a year quantities of the worst works of effort to appeal to the public in the right art, so-called, in all Christendom, piles way, to “get up” exhibitions so good that of the feeble stuff of immaturity, the the public couldn't resist them. But if tastelessness of vulgarity, and, most de
pressing of all, the respectable dulness of I CAN justify that boast, as it happens,
. vigorous and so varied is the present one-man shows held in New York this state of American art, New York sees season, the exhibition at the Ferargil Galsome of the finest painting and sculpture lery of works by Mr. Eugene F. Savage. that are done anywhere.
The test of a true artist is his possession of individuality, his having a view of life in Florence, Siena, and Assisi. He would, and art that is personal and new and among other things, make them glow. beautiful. Mr. Savage has such a view. What he had to say would be recondite Besides painting he thinks. He has ideas. and possibly obscure, but it would convey He is interested in themes that have a its message even to beholders not much scriptural or symbolical and imaginative given to abstruse reflection. If they felt significance. He sets the horses of the nothing else they would feel the beauty Apocalypse plunging across a canvas with implicit in this artist's conceptions and a world in ruins beneath their feet. It is in his fine workmanship. a pageant of death and destruction, but in The beauty in his work, the unmistakathe foreground of this “Recessional," as ble authenticity of his art must be taken he calls it, there is an image of living first of all as testimony to nothing more motherhood and behind the horsemen nor less than an inborn gift. Mr. Savage you glimpse in a rose-window the ever- strikes me as the kind of painter who revolving wheel of the church. There is would have triumphed over any fortuiallegory here, in this as in all of his pic- tous circumstances. But that is not to tures; in his “Stabat Mater,” in his “Ex- say that he has evolved his work in a pulsion,” in his “Bacchanal” there is a vacuum, that he owes nothing to external play of mind around some theme touching influences. On the contrary, he owes a the universal sympathies of mankind. heavy debt to the American Academy in In that alone, in his elevation and poetic Rome, where he spent three precious seriousness, Mr. Savage achieves distinc- years. When the late Charles F. McKim tion. But what also brings him to mind founded that institution he meant it to as illustrating the force with which mod- benefit just such a man as Mr. Savage. ern American art from time to time chal- Realizing how Rome was saturated in lenges the supremacy of European is this beauty and enveloped in grandeur, he artist's mastery of his craft.
foresaw that if the young American artist He knows how to draw, and there is kin- of imagination were harbored there durship between his draftsmanship and his ing his formative period he would draw ideas. He draws with a free, flowing line, unforgettable inspiration from his envia line that has strength and dignity, a ronment. His belief has been repeatedline that has upon it the accent of style. ly confirmed in the architecture of John Obviously he is a careful student of na- Russell Pope, in the sculpture of Paul ture, but he draws with the touch of a man Manship and C. P. Jennewein, in the concerned to lift realistic truth to a higher mural decorations of Barry Faulkner and power. He gives you the fact, but he Ezra Winter. It is confirmed again in the gives it to you ennobled by art. His paintings of Eugene Savage. He has not color is the pure color which we associate painted pseudo-Italian pictures. He has with the Italian Primitives, and he recalls not wasted himself in the effort to echo them also in the frequency with which he Raphael or Michael Angelo, or any of the introduces passages of flat gold. Like lesser types of the Renaissance. But the pioneers of the Renaissance, he proves contact with them all has spurred him that a picture having a kind of sweet to a keener sense of the rectitude of his solemnity may also be innocently, almost craft and has deepened his insight into naïvely, bright and gay. We have never beauty. From tradition he has caught had
more instinctively decorative something of that secret elusive air painter, and if I owned that fearful wild on which imagination is nourished and fowl, a king's ransom, I would promptly through the magical power of which a use it to obtain from Mr. Savage the man's dreams take tangible form. Mcembellishment of some such vast spaces Kim would have rejoiced in this disciple as were handed over to the early masters of his ideal.
A calendar of current art exhibitions will be found on page 19.